While Donald Trump and some of his defenders have tried to paint him as more lenient on LGBT issues than his fellow Republicans, the GOP presidential nominee has promised to help anti-gay groups implement their policy agendas and has surrounded himself with anti-LGBT advisers. One striking example of this is the Trump advisers who promote the harmful practice of so-called “conversion therapy” for LGBT people.
These pseudo-scientific treatments have been condemned as harmful and unethical by the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association and many other leading medical organizations.
The Human Rights Campaign describes ‘conversion therapy’ as a:
range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Such practices have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades, but due to continuing discrimination and societal bias against LGBTQ people, some practitioners continue to conduct conversion therapy. Minors are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.
This summer, the Republican Party approved a platform that included a rejection of state laws preventing the practice of conversion therapy on minors. The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, now a member of Trump’s “pro-life advisory council,” fought for the platform to endorse the practice even more strongly. Perkins has said that Trump’s campaign was the only GOP campaign in recent history that he hasn’t had to fight with over issues of “human sexuality” in the party platform.
Trump’s running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, once proposed diverting state funds from HIV/AIDS prevention efforts to groups that practiced conversion therapy, writing on the website of his 2000 congressional campaign, “Resources should be directed towards those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
This isn’t even to mention the article that ran in a journal Pence published that claimed that “gaydom” is a “pathological condition.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who was instrumental in rallying the Religious Right behind Trump when he led a meeting between the candidate and hundreds of evangelical and Catholic leaders in June, has defended conversion therapy, claiming last year that the government is preventing chaplains from recommending “assistance” for those in the “homosexual lifestyle.”